Online Trailer Buying

A rally that attracts a lot of out of town riders is a great place to see trailers and talk to their owners.

Question: I would like to buy a trailer but I am not sure about doing this online.  I would like to make sure I’m getting what I pay for.

Answer: I agree, and I don’t think you should order a trailer online if you’re not sure it’ll fit your needs.

Different folks have different comfort levels. Many of the people I talk to already have a pretty good idea what they’re looking for in a trailer. Sometimes they are buying the same thing a friend has. Other times they saw a trailer or camper on a road trip.

I try to provide as much info as I can to give folks what they need to make a purchase decision they can feel good about. When I put together the product lineup for Open Road Outfitters, I looked at over sixty companies that make trailers. Some I wouldn’t pull out of my street.  Others, in my opinion, are way over-engineered and overpriced.  I tried to strike a balance with the trailer line up I’ve assembled, but they all have a few things in common:  they are well-made here in the U.S.A., they tow well, and they represent a good value.

Sometimes having that info online is enough, sometimes it’s not.  I encourage folks to ask questions.  I try to answer them as honestly and fairly as I can, but I also realize that my opinion is not always sufficient to justify a purchase of several thousand dollars.

I usually tell folks that if they aren’t sure what they want,  go to a couple of bike rallies, especially those that cater to moto travelers like Americade, or one of the big national events like Sturgis or Daytona.  Rallies with Gold Wingers tend to have a TON of trailers, so even if you’re a died-in-the-wool Harley rider, check with a local Gold Wing group. Seeing a trailer firsthand and talking with the owner at a rally, I think, is one of the best ways to get a firsthand, unsolicited opinion on how a trailer performs.

Occasionally I can put an interested buyer in touch with a customer who has purchased the type of trailer they are considering.  My customers are scattered all over and their contact info changes fairly often so this isn’t guaranteed, but when it works, it’s a great way to learn more about the specific trailer you are looking at.

Beware of vendors selling hot deals on eBay. One in particular seems to have made a great business out of selling imported trailers and campers that are copies of American designed and manufactured trailers. They’re offered cheap, and with lots of extras. Just remember, you get what you pay for.